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Dr. Steven Richfield provides articles on many different aspects of raising a child with ADHD.                                   

Each month we our advocate will be answering questions from our visitors about yours and your children's rights in the educational system.    

A mother is trying to help her teenage son learn anger management.   

Five great ideas for motivation, including The Shoe Race, Trading Places and more.  

Organize your child at home, and maybe find some tips that will help you as well.  

Headlines about ADHD, Learning Disability and Mental Disorders

Study on ADD and TV
The recent study published on watching television between the ages of one and three and the possible link to ADD/ADHD did not take many considerations into account. The author of the study even admits that he cannot conclude that television watching and ADD/ADHD are linked.

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Parent's Talk
Behavior Issues
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One parent asked the following question: (Scroll down to see all of the answers.

I have a 9 yr. old son with ADHD. I have been having a  had a very hard time with him. He still wets the bed. He still gets into things as if he was younger.  Just   this morning he dumped soap on the kitchen floor, dumped laundry soap all  over the laundry room floor and there    was fabric softener everywhere.  This is just a sample of his behavior.  I have    tried everything that I can think of, does anyone have any suggestions on   handling his behavior and helping him understand the correct way to behave?



Because your son wets the bed, my first suspect would be milk and milk products.  This is only one of many possible allergies/sensitivities, but because it is the first tested in bedwetting, AND it's all too often a major factor in ADD/ADHD, it's my first choice to test.
It means carefully reading for labels, as milk is used in lots of things besides the obvious cheese and butter.  Casein is found in many non-dairy foods, and it's the main protein that causes problems. 

You can use a free pulse test to test for milk.  Go to my website a:

If this doesn't work to help solve both of your problems, I suggest EEG biofeedback.  You can get info on that by going to my other site:

This site about EEG biofeedback is presently the most effective and least expensive way to eliminate ADD/ADHD symptoms.  Read it carefully.

Phil Bate PhD

I have had a tremendous amount of problems with my seven year old until this past 9 months.  I read a book called, The Difficult Child.  It teaches you about behavior modification without all of the yelling and gaining
control over your home and life.  It addresses each of your child's temperament and goes into detail on how to either except or eliminate each one individually.  In conjunction with this behavior modification, the
Feingold Diet has been very helpful.  The Feingold Association is a non-profit organization from which you can buy the literature and shopping lists to implement the diet.  I also stopped resenting my son and started feeling compassion and finally broke our vicious cycle (a concept discussed in the aforementioned book).  It's all about swift consequences without emotion and rewards for good behavior and consistency and love.  I took my son off Ritalin 6 months ago and he received all "E's" on his last report card and answers, "Yes, maam?" when I call for him.  If you would like to discuss other techniques, please feel free to email me.
Best wishes and much empathy,

My name is Amy and I have a 10 year old son who is ADHD.   I have seen him do things similar to what you have described your son as doing with the soap and fabric softener.  Usually when my son does things like this he is bored or just curious.  I know it sounds strange but maybe he wanted to see how the soap would look as it was running across the floor.  Maybe he was interested in doing the laundry!  If so, maybe you could write out specific
instructions with pictures on how to do a load of wash and hang it on the wall by the washer.  Maybe with your help he could do a load of wash every now and then.  If he was just bored or curious maybe you could try giving
him some soap to play with in more of a controlled environment.  Just a suggestion...
Good luck!


Wow, hard to handle eh? Do you have emotional support? Are you single or married Mom? What forms of discipline are you able to use? How does your son respond?  You're not alone!!!!


I don't have the answer to your problem but I thought maybe you would like to know that my 7 year old dumped an entire box of pancake mix all around the living room last night, flooded the bathroom and poured the pancake syrup down the heating vent. These are almost daily occurrences. We are seeking help but I thought maybe you would get a smile from this. I hope so. Our humor is all we have to carry us through the clean-up.

My name is Edie Bradbury.  I am the parent of an ADHD son,  and an Asperger's/ADD son.  My children are 27 and 24 years old now. 

My response will be long.  You may want to print it out.

To give you a little idea about where I have been with my children, I will tell you a little about our situation.  First off, my husband died when my kids were 6 and 9.  We were separated by then anyway.  I basically raised the kids by myself,. while also trying to be the bread winner and the chief cook and bottle washer.

My oldest son, A, was different from day one.  He cried for 12 to 16 hours a day.  He was inconsolable as an infant.  He refused to be cuddled--in fact, that actually made him worse.  He was slow to do everything, with the
exception that he was very fast at getting into things.  He was 3 before he ever slept through the night.  He was 3 1/2 before he talked.  He was still having bowel and bladder accidents into his teen age years.

At the age of 5 I was told he was mentally retarded.  They didn't know much about all of this back then.  He was placed in a preschool for the emotionally disturbed at the age of 4.  At 6 he set my neighbors pick-up on fire.  He was stealing by the time he was 4.  He was on Supervision for the courts by the time he was 12.  He lived in a residential treatment center for 2 years as a teen.  His temper tantrums were unbelievable.  He turned me in
for abuse when he was 9.  He spent a couple of years in foster care as a smaller child, and went back into foster care at the age of 17 when I just could take no more.  After 6 weeks in foster care as a teen, Social Services
took me back to court and tried to make me take him back.  He wore them out in only 6 weeks.  I had had him for seventeen years.

I tell you all this only because I want you to understand both where I come from, and why I do what I do.  I am now an ADD coach specializing in coaching parents with children like our sons.  Why do I do it?  Because my son is now 27 years old, and still functions as a teenager, and not particularly well at that.  He is married and has a son ( whom I adore), and has never held a job for more than a couple of months in his entire life.

I know that the out come for both of my sons would have been much better if I had had access to the information and services that are now available.  My life was hell, and so was theirs.  I want a better outcome for all the people
in the world like yourself, that are dealing with the same kinds of things I dealt with.  I have learned so much about parenting these kids, and I want to pass it on to other parents who can make use of it at a much earlier point
than I was able to, since it took me so long to learn all of this, and because, I first had to learn what was really wrong with my kids before I could make significant progress in learning how to parent them, and for us,
that information came too late to be of significant use to us.

Now I would like to talk a little bit about how ADD works.  First of all, ADD seldom affects only one portion of the brain.  More often, it affects several areas which is why the symptoms are so diverse.  And which areas of the brain are affected in any one individual with ADD is a crap shoot.  Which is why parenting these kids is so difficult.  What works for one, doesn't work for another because they are so individually affected.  The first rule of
parenting these kids, is to throw out all the stuff that the regular parenting books tell you, and do that which works for the individual child. Don't be afraid to do something completely off the wall.  If it works, do it, even if other people look at you funny.  Be creative.

Back to ADD.  Your son is operating with a faulty computer.  If you keep that in mind at all times, it will help to alleviate the frustration.  One thing you can know about dealing with faulty computers, is that in the area that
they have a glitch, they are not going to give you the right answer no matter how many times you try.  The same thing is true of your son.  As long as the wiring remains faulty, he is going to give out the wrong answer--in this
case, the wrong behavior--or at least a less than socially appropriate answer-- the answers are not necessarily wrong.

Try to keep in mind that the faulty computer does not know it is faulty.  If it did, it would fix it.  The same is true of your son.  He can only operate with the information his brain gives him, and he has to come from a place of
believing it is giving him the right information.  Everybody does that, not just ADDers. Since he believes the information his brain gives him is correct, he will continue to spit out the same answer over and over again,
even though it is the "wrong" answer.  If you remember this, you can buy out of the problem of getting caught up in the usual thought process of  If he would just try harder, or, He could do it right if he wanted to.

For instance, with wetting the bed.  Parents often end up thinking this is a negative behavior the child does to aggravate the parents.  The reality is, however, that no one, at any age, wets the bed on purpose.  The other reality
is that they will eventually outgrow it.  Sometimes these kids are in their teen age years before they out grow it, but at the point their brain matures enough to wake them up when they have to urinate, they will quit wetting the
bed.  Until then it is a matter of dealing with the problem in a non-combative way.  Their are many options open, including disposable underwear, and padding the bed.  Restricting fluids and getting the child up before you go to bed have been tried a lot, but are not usually particularly effective.   The key things to remember are that the child is not doing it on purpose, so there is no reason to be angry with them or disappointed in them.  Another important point is that the child MUST be made to be responsible for the problem.  By that I mean, what ever mess is created, is a mess the child must clean up completely by themselves.  NOT AS A PUNISHMENT!!!!!!!!  But as
a learning tool.

It isn't, you are bad, go clean up the mess you made.  It is, okay, this is a bummer, and I wish you didn't have to deal with it.  Then you make sure they know how you want the mess taken care of, including using the washing
machine, dryer, remaking their bed, etc. In the beginning, you will need to supervise the entire operation to make sure the child learns how to do it the way you want it done.  ALL ADD KIDS MUST BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE MESSES THEY MAKE, INTENTIONAL OR ACCIDENTAL.  The reasoning behind this, is that this is what will actually fix the faulty wiring.  ADD kids don't usually learn from talking.  They learn from physically doing.  The physical activity helps the brain make the connection.  It's a little like using audio visual aids in school to accelerate learning.  It provides a pathway in the brain that is not there to begin with.

The same reasoning is useful for the messes the child makes at home, like the soap all over the floor.  I know that when you walk into that room, your first impulse is to commit infantacide, since I have been there before, but
angry responses don't work particularly well.  One of the reasons they don't is because the child genuinely doesn't understand why you are angry.  He doesn't see anything wrong with what he did, and it was, after all, a hell of
a good time.

He will learn what is wrong with it, when he starts spending a whole lot more time cleaning it up, than he spent making the mess.  Of course, I know that you would probably rather clean it up yourself, and get it done.  It is
pretty inconvenient to have the kind of mess you described, all over the house.  But again, the child needs the physical activity to make the brain connection.  Again, you will of course, have to supervise completely, and
that will take a lot more time and effort on your part than just cleaning it up.  But the goal is not to get the floors clean.  The goal is to teach the child not to make a mess.  Be certain if you choose to try this approach,
that they child really does do all the clean up himself, and that the clean up is satisfactory to you.  Then instead of giving him negative feed back for making the mess, you can give him positive feedback for the nice job he did
cleaning up the mess.  Of course I understand that 9 year old mopping probably isn't ever really going to meet your standards, but make sure that the child believes he has done a good job, and if you must come behind him
and clean some more, make sure you do it when he is not around to see you.

The goal with these kids, is to do everything you can as a parent to turn a negative situation into a positive one.  Give little or no feed back for the negative stuff.  Help them fix the problem, and then give positive feed back
for the fixing behavior.

There are no magic answers to getting a child like this to behave like a normal child.  Each situation, each individual problem must be dealt with individually, because these kids do not have the ability to generalize their
learning to new situations.

An important thing to remember, is that if what you are doing is not working now, then it is not going to work in the future either.  So try to find a different response.


For other situations,  some people are having success with having children write sentences for misbehavior.  Again, the physical activity combined with the thought process helps make the connection.  If you choose to try this, keep the sentences age appropriate, and to the point,  I will clean my room. I will obey my teacher.  I will show respect by not hitting.  I will count to 10 when I get angry.  Make the sentences say what you want the child TO DO, not what you don't want the child to do.  Start with somewhere between 10 to 25 sentences for a first offense based on the child's age.  Add 5 to 15 for each offense after that.  Remember, that if you have the child write sentences, you don't also get to punish him in some other way. 

Another type of behavior management that people are having success with is a remodeled version of time out.  Have the child go some where very unexciting--the bathroom perhaps.  But it must be a place that is quiet.  Tell the child that you want him to think about what he did.  Give him some ideas to think about especially in the beginning--How did this behavior affect someone else.  What could you have done differently to achieve a better result.  What do you think you should do about the situation now?  A lot of ADDers have trouble learning how to think things through.  This process will give them much needed practice.  Thinking time might start out at a minute per year of age, again adding extra time for repeat offenses. When the thinking time is over, go in and talk to the child and discuss what they thought about.  When they come up with good answers, be sure to give them positive feedback.  Help them rethink the answers that probably wont work.  Explain why they wont work.  And most of all, be sure to hug and kiss them when they are ready to join the group again.  Let them know how much you
love them and that that doesn't change even when they make a mistake, but of course, you hope they don't make that mistake again.

If I can be of any other service to you, don't hesitate to contact me.  I of course, charge a fee for my coaching, but always save spaces for people who need and want the help, but are financially challenged.

I am working on putting together  a virtual support group that will be meeting on a phone bridge.  If you have any interest in this, let me know.

Take care of yourself above all else.  You cannot give the energy to your son that he is going to need, if you don't put your needs first at least some of the time.

Edie Bradbury
POWER COACHING--Putting Power into the lives of ADDers
P.O. Box 8033
Fayetteville, AR. 72703-0001

Has your son's doctor ever mentioned a medication called Imiprimine?  This medication helps curb night-
time bedwetting and it might prove effective for your son as well. Other than that, you might also try
waking him in the night and assisting him to the bathroom until he learns to control his bladder more.
I know that has to be frustrating.

As far as his behavior, your message didn't contain a lot of information as to what, if any, medications
he's on, if you have an IEP and Behavioral Intervention Plan in place for him at school, etc.  I
would need more information in order to try and help you, so if you'd like to write me privately, please
feel free to do so.  Just know that I am not an attorney, nor am I a professional advocate. I am just a mother who's had to learn an awful lot out of necessity of being able to properly advocate for my son.

If I can help, please feel free to write to me.
KS Parent


I don't mean to seem to harsh ... but it sounds like your son needs a good ole-fashioned switching!!!  At 9 he is fully capable of knowing what is right from wrong.  And if he's being medicated (barring anything you didn't tell us), he shouldn't be allowed to get away with this type of behavior and blame it on his condition.

I am relatively new to being an mom to ADD and wife of ADHD -- but one thing that I do know is that children have to learn that there are CONSEQUENCES to their actions.  I have a friend who has been our ADD/ADHD mentor -- diagnosed and medicated for over 9 years.  His son stopped taking his meds when he was 14, and I will assure you that the consequences that kids experience at that age are FAR more severe than what you could impose RIGHT NOW at home.  Some thoughts -- take them for what they're worth.
1.  If you state a punishment to him -- STICK WITH IT.  Absolutely do not let the child know that you will not follow through with what you threaten.
2.  Revert back to a "Good Behavior" chart (just like in elementary school).  Place it in a prominent area of the home, outline it with what his most frequent infractions are, and reward him for being Good!! 
3.  Make a "Reward Chart" -- take those kid pens that are included in "Spy kits" with the invisible ink.  Make a page with blocks, and write in treats (most should be small -- extra desert, skip one chore, Hug time with mom), but include one "big" treat in for the month (or period of time being watched).  Again, this will reinforce good behavior, instead of bad.
4.  Make him be responsible for his own actions!!!  If he dumps laundry detergent on the floor -- hand him the dust pan and make him scoop it back in the box and clean!!!  You may have a fight on your hands the first few times (from what I read), but be firm (even stand over him if you must) and it should become easier each time you hold true to making him clean up after himself -- and he will think twice before doing it again!!!
I know that I've already been reading a lot about "Tough Love" working wonders with ADD kids -- sure does with mine.  I suggest (strongly) that you do a little research in that area.
God bless!!


Have you tried rewarding him with stars on a calendar, for when he had a good day? My 8 yr. old we started first for every two days we got stars we got a special treat. We can make it through a week now.


I am also a mother of an eight year child with ADHD.  I am well aware of the many problems and trails that you are facing every day.  Perhaps I can provide some helpful suggestions.  Be consistent with your discipline.  Set limits as to what you expect from your child.  Pick your arguments well as you may want to put more emphasis on things that will benefit your child for a lifetime.  ADHD (ADD) children cannot always control their behavior.  
Is your child on medication? If so, is it working for him?  I had originally taken my child to a developmental pediatrician for evaluation. She suggested a program that would benefit my child. There are many programs that can help not only your child but also you. Perhaps your doctor could recommend them for you.  If money is a problem, as it was for me, I have found that most all medical units will take a patient on payments. Arrangements would need to be done before you start taking your child to them. Also, perhaps you can eliminate some behavior problems by keeping household objects out of the child's way. Does your laundry room have a lock on it?  I know that a mother can keep repeating what she expects form her child and it seems as if the child is not listening.  Remember that the child's focus is not always present.  I have used a reward system often and found it to be beneficial. For instance, if I take my son to the store I will promise him something as a reward for behaving in the store.  If he does not listen, I do not reward him. This may be hard at first to do for the child may whine and cry hoping to get what he wants.  Remember to be persistent with your discipline. Also, structure is very important in this child's life.  I had put my son in a karate class while he was very young. Since this instructor has a lot of
structured routine in his classes, this has worked to my son's benefit because his concentration level has increased.  Always look for someone who is willing to work with your child's condition. Don't be afraid to explain
the situation and ask if this person is agreeable to working with your child.  These people are out there. You need to look for them.  Try to stay focused on what is best for your child as someday you will want him to become a
responsible adult.  Read!!!!  There are so many good books out there on the subject on ADHD and how to deal with the behavior problems. If all else fails, don't feel bad if you need a break.  My sister would take my son for
me on occasion so that I could get a needed break thus regaining my perspective.  People and books can help but only you can control the situation.  Hopefully all a person's hard work will eventually pay off.  I know it has for me. It can for you also.                                     
                                                     An ADHD (ADD) Mom


I have a 6 year old son with ADHD and we are making progress without the use of any drugs.  We have started a reward system with poker chips and have found that it is working quite well.  What you need to do is setup a point system and in this case it could be for neatness and carefullness and reward your child if they come through with a change in behavior.  If you would like to hear more techniques that I am using please email me.


Hi I have a 5 year old son named Jordan. He has adhd and I know how you feel! there is a mattress with an alarm inside it that will sound off when he is wetting the bed. my doctor told me about this because my 7 year old stepson has the same problem. for the behavior part i try to make him sit down and watch a video an try to keep him focused on something fun and good with learning books or puzzles it will keep him occupied and you sane he will love it. .if you need to talk email me please 


Hi! My name is Kim and I'm a 31 yr old mother of 3 in NY state. My 6 yr. old son was diagnosed as ADHD in the spring of 2000. Since then we have gone through alot of different things. The behavior your son has sounds like how my son acts. They are very naughty yet in a different way than other kids their ages. We ended up putting Jacob in the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and it was the best thing we could ever do for him. His diagnoses was changed  to PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) and classified as Aspergers which is a high functioning autism. Children with Aspergers tend to have severe behavioral problems and have trouble fitting into social situations. Jacob now goes to a school that fits his needs. I'm not saying that all Dr.s are to hasty in diagnosing as ADHD but maybe you should ask the Dr. more about other disorders that go along with ADHD. Such as ODD....and Aspergers. You can also go to and find info on aspergers. There are also many pages out there with info on neurological disorders in children. 

Your son sound so familiar to when my son was that age.  I had a very destructive child with a whole lot of anger.

      My son is now almost 16 years old now and while the anger part is difficult to get a hold of, rest assured there are suggestions out there.

      I have found that my purchasing a book called "The Fiengold cookbook for A.D.H.D. kids" has done wonders.  It specifically targets foods that will counter-balance their medication.  In my son's case, Ritalin.  By keeping
certain foods out of his diet he will eventually come around.  This will play a big part once he gets older.
Apples, bananas and certain types of nuts are great for snacks.

      The reward system also works well.  The effort must be from him and you must always follow through with it.  No exceptions.

      Also, keep him busy with things to occupy his mind.  Sports, computer games,  pay board games with him.  Chess is a hard thinking game and must require patience.  A good learning tool.  My son participates in a great deal of sports and I have found it to be very beneficial.  Keeping in mind, that you will not longer have a life 'cause you will now be so involved in his activities.  But it works.  I have three children.  13, 15 and 18.  My 15 year old is the one with A.D.H.D.  everyone in the family must participate.  I know this is hard because I have the ultimate husband who has the least amount of patience.  But I have been married for 15 years now.

      I hope I have been of some help.  I am most happy to help you, should you need to ask questions or just need to talk.  Keep in touch.

                                                                        Thea Franklin

My name is Vicki and I read about you're son. Interesting my son has ADHD and use to wet the bed we were given a perscription from his Dr. and it is DDAVP it is a nose spray you keep in the fridge. At bed time you put a spray in each nostril, with my son we had to do one in each nostril then an extra spray in the other. and it worked!!! it is
costly about $100.00 for a month, my insurance covered and it cost me $35.00. It is well worth the money, and I think medicade covers this also, not sure. but you need to ask you're child's Dr. about this. I was so happy no more wet bed to have to wash day after day. then we put my son on 50mg. of zoloft and stopped the DDAVP spray, and I don't know if it was just coincidence but he became happy and has not used the nose spray at night for about 4 years now. hope this will help you.

I actually wanted to respond to everyone on this list, but just found your letter first.  ADD is a brain injury.  Brain injuries can be fixed and there is an institute in Philidelphia that has studied the brain since the 60's. They  have designed way for parents to fix their children's injuries.  ADD is not as bad of an injury as something like Cebrebral Palsy (I don't know if i spelled that correctly).  But it can be treated just as the other can . 

Very few people know about this treatment because most doctors are not fond of this institute and cannot prove that it really works.  The institutes can prove it works, however.   They see kids fixed everyday!  Most people don't
like the means at which the kids get fixed because it is very time consuming for the parents and it is not a really easy task.  However it can be done.

Anyway, the full name is The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.  They have a book called What to do About Your Brain Injured Child written by Glenn Doman.  The phone number is 1 215 233 2050.  And they also
have a web site. I would be willing to answer any questions you might have.